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How do we know there's a God? What is he like?

Re: What arguments, evidence, and logic support The Christia

Postby Dedicated » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:08 pm

> the only way we could ever know any of this stuff is if it were revealed to us. Otherwise we'd be completely in the dark about it all

It would be helpful when talking to skeptics to specify when you're talking about things we can verify and when you're talking about what the voice in your head tells you. I can't make use of revelation if it can't be verified.

> if non-personality is a fundamental of our universe, then there is no possibility that humanity can have or exhibit personality.

How do you know that?

> It's like claiming that we can put various pieces of metal together, and if we do this often enough, those metal pieces will exhibit, oh, consciousness, or something like that. It's impossible. So if you have consciousness putting various pieces of metal together cannot be the explanation of it

Sounds like you're describing a computer, and we don't really know yet if artificial intelligence can become conscious.

> Because disjuncted power cannot explain personality

How do you know that?

> If God and nature are one, then all is a non-differentiated singularity, which is not what we see

What exactly do you think a non-differentiated singularity would look like and what reference frame do you have to even attempt to identify something like that?

> If God and nature are one, there is no subject-object relationship, no particularity, but instead only a blank unity. In such a view of God there can be no foundation for knowledge, love, morality, or ethics

None of the things you are saying are possible to know. You have incredible confidence about extremely precarious ideas. You're making assertions that can not be based on reality because there is no way to measure or observe any of this.

> If God is personal and relational, volition is part of the package

You haven't given a single coherent reason to think God is personal and relational. This has been one long sermon of your fanciful imagination.
Dedicated
 

Re: What arguments, evidence, and logic support The Christia

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:08 pm

> It would be helpful when talking to skeptics to specify when you're talking about things we can verify and when you're talking about what the voice in your head tells you.

First of all, I don't know to whom I'm talking. The site is anonymous. OK, now I know you're a skeptic. Second, it's not a voice in my head. These are things the Bible talks about, which evidence leads me to believe is His revelation of Himself. As to what makes me believe that, that's the subject of our discussion: What arguments, evidence, and logic support the Christian God. Here we have been discussing arguments and logic, not any "voice in my head."

> I can't make use of revelation if it can't be verified

Verification can be dependent on various factors. I'm an evidentialist, so I believe in evidence and follow the evidence. But if you're talking about science, you're barking up the wrong tree. Science can't verify God's revelation any more than it can predict what will happen in the stock market tomorrow or who will win the 2019 NBA finals. Some things are just outside of the purview of science.

Supposing, just supposing (for the sake of argument) that God appeared to you in your room. I mean, like, for real. He talked with you, passed your tests (Hey, if you're really God, make my desk float in the air), gave you a message, and then he was gone. But when you told your friends, they wanted verification. Your lack of any ability to verify what really happened wouldn't mean it didn't happen. It just wasn't verifiable by any scientific or even logical means. I mean, let's be realistic. Some things happen that can't be verified, but they really happened.

>> if non-personality is a fundamental of our universe, then there is no possibility that humanity can have or exhibit personality.
>How do you know that?

Logic. I'm using my brain. If personality isn't in the mix, it can't be in the result. You can't mix pieces of metal, plastic, and rubber and end up with cake. All you can end up with is some element or compound comprised of metal, plastic, and rubber.

> Sounds like you're describing a computer, and we don't really know yet if artificial intelligence can become conscious.

No, I'm not talking about a computer at all, nor AI. Just naming things at random to show that if it's not in the mix it can't be in the result.

>> Because disjuncted power cannot explain personality
> How do you know that?

I'm thinking it through. It's logic. I'm using my brain. You can't have a cat mate with a cat and end up with a giraffe. You can't put a bunch of assorted screws in a bucket, mix them up, and expect to find that a tire has resulted from it.

> What exactly do you think a non-differentiated singularity would look like and what reference frame do you have to even attempt to identify something like that?

According to Hinduism, it's where one is all and all is one. It doesn't make sense to me (since the conversation at hand is "Why the Christian God?). It's illogical and unrealistic, according to everything we know. A non-differentiated singularity would mean there is no subject/object relationship between things, because one is all and all is one, and that's not what we see. If that were the case, relationships would be impossible. There would be no diversity.

> None if the things you are saying are possible to know.

It's logic. Things can be self-contradictory. A can't equal non-A. How do we know that A → B → A (if A holds, then B implies A)? We know such things because they are logical, they hold to reality, and they conform with our definitions of reason. Without subject/object relationships, knowledge is impossible, because knowledge implies that there is something (an object) separate from myself (the subject), and that it can be observed, perceived, understood, and known.

> You have incredible confidence about extremely precarious ideas

They are quite logical, and you have yet to present any rebuttal.

> You haven't given a single coherent reason to think God is personal and relational. This has been one long sermon of your fanciful imagination.

I'm disappointed to learn here that you haven't been reading my posts. I've been quite clear.

    * Even creation itself requires subject/object relationship.
    * If God is just "power that exists" (no personality), then creation was impossible
    * If there is no subject/object relationship, then both knowledge and personality are impossible
    * If God is self-aware, then He must also have volition (self-awareness necessitates self-direction, which requires volition).

What I've given you is at least 4 coherent reasons to think that God is personal and relational, and necessarily so. If God is not personal and relational, then creation is impossible, knowledge is impossible, and personality is impossible.

> This has been one long sermon of your fanciful imagination.

Sigh. It's logic, my friend. Logic.
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Re: What arguments, evidence, and logic support The Christia

Postby Dedicated » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:40 pm

Sorry, Jim, my composure is waning. When I ask how you know the claims you're making are true you just make more unsubstantiated claims to back them up. It feels like a very one sided conversation because some how we don't have access to the same sources. I'm not trying to be strictly scientific but there has to be some foundation for the logic you're coming up with otherwise it's not logic at all it's just pretend. You say it's biblical but I'm not even sure about that, and you might be able to come up with some scripture but that's the very subject of inquiry we're evaluating.

You say it's not voices in your head but then say "supposing that God appeared to you in your room. He talked with you." Personal revelation of that kind is exactly what I mean by voices in your head. Privately making my desk float wouldn't pass my test, unequivocal unanimous public demonstration is the standard we use to evaluate almost every other subject in existence.

> If personality isn't in the mix, it can't be in the result

We don't know what personality is made of, we don't know what the mix contains. You're talking about things that are outside the realm of human knowledge.

> cat mate with a cat and end up with a giraffe

Not the same thing at all. You're comparing known factors to try to establish completely unknown concepts. "disjuncted power" is nowhere close to the same level of understanding as a cat.

> A non-differentiated singularity would mean there is no subject/object relationship between things, because one is all and all is one, and that's not what we see. If that were the case, relationships would be impossible.

Unsubstantiated. We don't know what a singularity would look like because we don't have access to a singularity to study. Your conception may be incompatible but there is no way to test your conception to know if it's real.

> A can't equal non-A. How do we know that A → B → A (if A holds, then B implies A)?

The problem is that we don't even know what A or B actually are and you're trying to formulate them as if they were well established.

> Even creation itself requires subject/object relationship.

Why

> If God is just "power that exists" (no personality), then creation was impossible

Why

> If God is self-aware, then He must also have volition (self-awareness necessitates self-direction, which requires volition)

How do you know God is self-aware??

> What I've given you is at least 4 coherent reasons to think that God is personal and relational, and necessarily so. If God is not personal and relational, then creation is impossible, knowledge is impossible, and personality is impossible.

None of these premises are substantiated.
Dedicated
 

Re: What arguments, evidence, and logic support The Christia

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:41 pm

> my composure is waning.

Yeah, mine too. It's frustrating. I say something like "Unless you have some kind of personal consciousness, you can't communicate," and you ask me, "How do you know that?" It's frustrating.

> It feels like a very one sided conversation because some how we don't have access to the same sources.

I'm not using any sources, I'm just reasoning it out. If all is one, there is no differentiation. If there is no differentiation, there is no subject/object relationship. If there is no s/o relationship, there can't be distinct personalities.

On another hand, if there is no personality in the source material, and no potential for personality, then personality is impossible. It's just reasoning. I don't have a source to which to refer you. It's just 2+2=4.

> You say it's not voices in your head but then say "supposing that God appeared to you in your room. He talked with you." Personal revelation of that kind is exactly what I mean by voices in your head.

Well, see, these are different things. "Voices in your head" is psychosis; personal revelation is metaphysics.

> Privately making my desk float wouldn't pass my test

It was just an example. Sigh.

> unequivocal unanimous public demonstration is the standard we use to evaluate almost every other subject in existence.

When it comes right down to it, despite the communal aspect of truth, philosophers of science tell us that scientific verification is largely a misnomer. In the end, science seems to be little more than opinion, expert opinion granted, but still just an opinion. There is, in the words of Thomas Kuhn, “no standard higher than the consent of the relevant community”: a situation that has been colorfully characterized as scientific mob rule. Paul Feyerabend argues that there is no scientific method, that science is, and should be, anarchic. W.V. Quine argued that, "“the totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs is a man-made fabric that impinges on experience only along the edges.” Later sociological studies have claimed that scientific knowledge is no more certain than any other type of knowledge, that its knowledge is culturally determined.

Ian Hutchinson, in "Monopolizing Knowledge," writes a lot about the limitations of science and how false it is for people to assume that science, scientific evidence, and the scientific method can circumscribe all knowledge. On p. 129 he writes, "In reality, both religious thought and philosophical thought depend upon and have recourse to evidence. Where they differ from science, and from each other, is in what they regard as evidence and in the different weight they accord to different types of evidence. Science insists that evidence must be in the form of clear repeatable experiments. Other types of discourse (religious, philosophical, literary, historical, jurisprudential, and artistic scholarship) place more emphasis on testimony, narrative, human nature, personal experience, etc."

Accordingly, you seem to be establishing a false bar over which theologians must jump.

> We don't know what personality is made of, we don't know what the mix contains. You're talking about things that are outside the realm of human knowledge.

Not totally. Personality is identity-oriented individualized consciousness. It is necessarily self-aware, self-directed, volitional, and individually unique. We also know that physical processes don’t lead us to meaning, judgments, values, and logic (entities that do not exist in the subatomic, chemical, biological, or molecular phenomena). This reductionist-materialist objection is self-defeating. Personality is what we might call an emergent aspect of humanity—a high-level causal property in the complexity of the human organism. Because it's ultimately non-biological, we look for explanations outside of the realm of reductive physicalism.

> Not the same thing at all. You're comparing known factors to try to establish completely unknown concepts. "disjuncted power" is nowhere close to the same level of understanding as a cat.

You missed the point. The point is that you can only end up with what was in the system to begin with. If all you have it cat DNA, you end up with cat result. If all you have are metal pieces, you can't end up with something rubber. If all you have are chemicals, you're going to end up with something chemical.

> Unsubstantiated. We don't know what a singularity would look like because we don't have access to a singularity to study

Well, then, your objection shows the substantiation. If we don't have access to a singularity to study, then that supports the point that it may not be reasonable (due to lack of substantiation) that god is just a singularity (as Hindus claim) or that, as you said, "We don't really know if the universe is other than god or if they are intertwined." The lack of evidence leads us away from the idea of a singularity.

>> Even creation itself requires subject/object relationship.
> Why

If God, who is uncreated, creates something that has a beginning (the universe), then He is not identical with the universe, as they have different attributes. Therefore the act of creation itself requires a subject (God) and an object (that which is created).

>> If God is just "power that exists" (no personality), then creation was impossible
> Why

Because power has no volition. The act of creation requires the ability to desire, the ability to reason, the distinguishing of potential courses, and the exercise of autonomy, and the application of power. Volition is an outworking of intelligent self-direction.

>> If God is self-aware, then He must also have volition (self-awareness necessitates self-direction, which requires volition)
> How do you know God is self-aware??

If God is volitional, he is self-directed. If he is self-directed, he is also self-aware. There's no other choice. "Volitional" means that an organism is able to weigh alternatives to determine a direction. Therefore if an organism is volitional, it is also self-directed—capable of applying intent and power to a situation.

But the only way an organism can be self-directed is if it is self-aware. Otherwise it has no reasoning ability to consider data, stimuli, or alternatives. Descartes's "I think, therefore I am."

> None of these premises are substantiated.

Oh my. Sigh. We've covered this ground repeatedly. I'll try once more.

    * If we are going to perceive God as creator, he must of necessity be personal and relational. A "power that exists" has no volition, intelligence, or purpose to engage power to create anything. Only a personal, intelligent source has volition and purposeful power.
    * If creation is not distinct from the creator, but all is one, then there is no subject/object relationship, no diversity and no distinctions. Therefore knowledge itself doesn't exist either, since knowledge requires subject/objectivity. This lack of diversity, distinction, and knowledge is contrary to what we observe.
    * Since creation is distinct from the creator, and subject/object relationships are therefore not only possible but necessary, then volition and knowledge are also possible. This is in accord with what we observe.
    * Since God is therefore necessarily personal and relational, and He is a creator who is distinct from His creation, there is a straight line of understanding how humanity is also personal, relational, purposeful, and knowledgable. These traits of humanity are also in accord with what we observe.

Back to the original question, this is part of the reason why I believe in the Christian God rather than any other god, particularly the Hindu religion (back to what I said about there only really being two). Christian theology accords with reality, and is confirmed by what we see in science and know from logic.
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Re: What arguments, evidence, and logic support The Christia

Postby Waterback » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:28 pm

I was going to start with the assumption that god wants to communicate with people, but I guess that's a given if we're only talking about the bible god and assuming the bible is real.

Ill just go down the comments you made a point at a time.

> Weighing and comparing the major religions of the world, there seem to be only two that really rise to the top: Christianity and Hinduism. Islam is just a cult, or distortion, of Christianity (Mohammad took Christianity and changed it, removing Jesus from deity, and putting Mohammad as its greatest prophet). Buddhism (and others like Jainism) is just a cult of Hinduism. Confucianism is really a philosophy of lifestyle, not a religion per se. When I weigh Christianity and Hinduism, Christianity seems to far outweigh Hinduism in its realistic portrayal of God, reality, evil, pain, salvation, life, and death.

Seriously dude? that is a vast oversimplification of these religions. By that logic, cant you say christianity is just a "cult" of judaism and therefore inconsequential?

What does whether a religion was more or less original have to do with whether it should be believed?

Also what do you mean by realistic? having fewer supernatural claims? by that logic, you should be an atheist
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Re: What arguments, evidence, and logic support The Christia

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:40 pm

> ... but I guess that's a given if we're only talking about the bible god and assuming the bible is real.

Yeah, the discussion about God's existence (the logic and evidence of theism) and the reliability of the Bible are other discussion.

> that is a vast oversimplification of these religions.

Of course it is. But I wasn't (obviously not) trying to explain in one sentence what these religions were about, but instead merely saying that an in-depth analysis of the major religions of the world boils them down to 2: Christianity and Hinduism. I could undeniably write a book supporting that statement, but that's not the point of this discussion on this forum. So I condensed for the sake of simplicity in communication, not to deprecate either religion.

> By that logic, cant you say christianity is just a "cult" of judaism and therefore inconsequential?

That's possible, yes, but since there are 2.2 billion Christians on the planet right now compared to 6-15 million Jews (depending on how one defines "Jew"), Judaism doesn't generally qualify as one of the world's major religions.

> Also what do you mean by realistic? having fewer supernatural claims?

What I mean by it is "conforming to reality." For instance, Hinduism says evil and suffering are an illusion; Christianity says they are real and awful. Which one conforms more to the real world we see? Hindus believe in the relativity of truth, but Christians believe truth is objective. Well, which one is true? Only the Christian position can be true, because the Hindus would self-contradict if they said their position was objectively true. To me objective truth conforms to what we know to be real (realistic). Hinduism says God is all and all is God. But if that's the case, diversity and differentiation is impossible. But since we see elaborate diversity and differentiation, I think Christianity is more realistic (conforming to the reality we see and know) than Hinduism. That's what I mean by it.
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